In which I use my powers for good

Hurrah for Claudia Winkleman! The magnificently befringed presenter has been given Bruce Forsyth’s Strictly Come Dancing presenting slot, marking an encouraging waltz forward for the BBC’s hiring policy – two women presenting a prime-time show without anyone feeling the need to bring a bloke in.

It also marks an exciting personal milestone, the first time I’ve ever made a wish in this column that has later been granted. At least I think it is, but there are 11 years’ worth of archives to check and I don’t have the energy. Let’s assume it is. Hurrah! 

Assuming this signals a newly-developed superpower and not just a predictable coincidence (I’m sure it does), I now feel the weight of responsibility on my shoulders. What should I wish for next? How can I use this power for good? After at least eight minutes of very serious consideration, I’ve drawn up the following list.

I would like ASOS to bring back their sleeve-length filter for dresses please. Back in the glory days, ASOS.com was on our side in the battle against fabric-stingy designers. Their unique sleeve filter allowed us to eliminate all sleeveless dresses in one swift click, leaving us only with the long-sleeved, the medium-sleeved and the skimpy-but-still-not-requiring-complex-bra-‘solutions’. Of course in practice this eliminated about 80 per cent of all dresses, but it sure made shopping quicker. Until they took the filter away. Bring it back, guys! It was totally ’armless.

I would like Conchita’s Eurovision win to herald a new age of transgender acceptance please. And also the decline of fascist attitudes to facial and body hair. My lustrous blonde moustache has been hidden from the world for too long, and it’s time to stop caring what anyone else thinks.

I would like the Olympics to come back to London please. The Evening Standard reported this week that Rio’s preparations to host the Games in 2016 are so far behind schedule that the International Olympic Committee is considering moving proceedings to London as a plan B. It should be noted that they also called the chance of it actually going ahead “infinitesimally small” - but then I had an infinitesimally small chance of enjoying judo the last time round, and that happened.

I would like Friends to be shown on Freeview again please. Yes, at the point where E4 relinquished the rights to Comedy Central I had seen every episode so many times I’d begun to think Gunther was a man I actually knew. But that was two and half years ago. Two and a half years of trying to kid myself I actually enjoy The Big Bang Theory. And now it’s been 10 years since the show’s finale, Chandler et al are everywhere again, and all I want to do is spend a month under a duvet re-living everything Rachel’s hair ever did. We were on a break, but I’d like it to end now. Please.

Nice to see you, to see you... Claudia

In one of the less surprising news stories of last week, we learned that everyone’s favourite grandpa of the cha-cha is stepping down from his weekly job on Strictly Come Dancing. 

At 86, Bruce Forsyth has been a fixture on British screens for nearly three times longer than I’ve been alive. A consummate professional, still turning out the gags and admirably nimble (William Hill have 25-1 odds on the former hoofer returning as a contestant in the next series), his presence every week was a too-rare reminder of what’s possible past the showbiz pensioner cut-off. 

Sometimes he doddered, yes, but that was good too – far better a doddering Bruce who’s still on TV than to sweep him away at 70 and pretend that people don’t age, minds don’t fade and we all stay taut and glossy forever.

Speaking of taut, glossy people, Tess now needs a new presenting partner. My immediate thought, like any person of sensible taste, was “Claudia! Claudia! LET WINKLEMAN HAVE IT”. 

The panda-eyed presenter has been standing in for Forsyth on the Sunday shows since 2010, and she’s been delightful – a sort of eccentric antihero in a smock dress, the perfect counterbalance to immaculate Tess. You always imagine Tess would just keep smoothly presenting if the four horseman of the apocalypse thundered onto the set and made Brendan Cole do the Argentine tango with Death on a lake of fire. Claudia would do a pun, pull a funny face and run around with rumpled hair screaming “WHOAH! THIS IS MAAAD!”, which is what I’d want to see. 

One bookie’s favourite is Anton du Beke, not least because he will almost certainly look exactly like Brucie in 30 years’ time. If we squint slightly, it’ll be as if nothing has changed. Another is Daly’s husband and telly’s resident margarine-monger, Vernon Kay.

This one makes sense for the BBC because they’ll only have to send one car and pay for one room at the Elstree Travelodge. But Vernon Kay saddens me. He started off so well, all trendy hair and T4 and northern charm, then somewhere along the way traded his personality in for fake tan, whitened teeth and shiny suits and watched his career path veer off to the point where he’s doing the gigs Steve Jones wasn’t available for. Maybe he is the portrait in Dermot O’Leary’s attic.

But despite all my admiration for Bruce’s long career, my main ask is that they don’t bring in another man of advanced years. Because how many times have we seen that combo? The naughty grandpa/glossy young straightwoman double act. Des and Mel. Terry Wogan and Fearne Cotton. Christine Bleakley and basically everyone she’s ever presented with. Yawn.

If the Beeb really want to turn heads, as one of my Twitter followers suggested, they should give the gig to Mary Berry and Joey Essex. Or Reggie Yates and Sandi Toksvig. Or Harry Styles and Dame Joan Bakewell.

Or, forget needing a man in the frame at all and just give it to Claudia. She’s already doing the job, guys, and everyone already loves her. If you don’t, I swear on the metaphorical ghost of Camilla Dallerup, I will be writing to Points of View.